Chronology of the Dakota Conflict (Sioux Uprising) Trials

Log cabin that served as the courtroom for the Dakota Conflict trials 
July 23,1851 In the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, Two bands of Dakota cede to the U.S. lands in southwestern portions of the Minnesota Territory (as well as portions of Iowa and South Dakota) for $1.665 million in cash and annuities.
August 5, 1851 In the Treaty of Mendota, Two other band of Dakota cede to the U.S. lands in southeastern portions of the Minnesota Territory for $1.41 million in cash and annuities.
Summer, 1851 7,000 Dakota are moved to two reservations bordering the Minnesota River in southwestern Minnesota.
Spring, 1857 A renegade band of Dakota kill forty Americans in northwest Iowa in what is called "the Spirit Lake Massacre."
1858 The Dakota cede additional land on the north bank of the Minnesota River, reducing the size of their reservation.
August, 1862 Annuity payments are late and rumors circulate that payments, if they will be made at all, will not be in the customary gold because of the ongoing Civil War. Dakota plan to demand that future annuity payments be made directly to them, rather than through traders.  Traders, learning of plan, refuse to sell provisions on credit, despite widespread hunger and starvation on the reservation.  At a meeting called by Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith to resolve the impasse, Andrew Myrick, spokesman for the traders, says: "So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass."
August 17, 1862 Four Dakota kill five settlers near Litchfield.  Councils are held among the Dakota on whether to wage war.  Despite deep divisions on the issue, war is the chosen course.
August 18, 1862 Groups of Dakota kill 44 Americans in attacks on the Redwood Agency and on federal troops advancing to the Agency in the hope of suppressing the uprising.  Ten Americans are captured. 
August 19, 1862 Minnesota Governor Ramsey appoints Col. Henry Sibley to command American volunteer forces.Sixteen settlers are killed in Dakota attacks in and around New Ulm. Settlers crowd into a small barricaded area of New Ulm's main street.
August 20-21, 1862 Dakota attack Fort Ridgely, but the Fort is successfully defended.
August 23, 1862 About 650 Dakota attack New Ulm a second time.  Most buildings in the town are burned.  Although 34 die and 60 are wounded, the town is successfully defended. 
August 25, 1862 About 2,000 New Ulm refugees (mostly women, children, and wounded men) load into 153 wagons or set off on foot for Mankato, thirty miles away.
September 2, 1862 In the Battle of Birch Coulee (near Morton), American troops suffer their greatest casualties of the war.
September 6, 1862 Major General John Pope, having recently lost the Battle of Bull Run, is appointed commander of U.S. troops in the Northwest, charged with suppressing the Dakota uprising.
September 23, 1862 The battle of Wood Lake is a decisive victory for American troops.  While the Wood Lake fighting is in progress, Dakota opposed to continuation of the war take control of 269 American captives held near the Chippewa River.
September 26, 1862 "Friendlies" release American captives.  Col. Sibley enters Dakota camp and takes 1200 Dakota men, women, and children into custody.  Over the next weeks, and additional 800 Dakota will surrender to American forces.  In 37 days of fighting, the Dakota Conflict has claimed the lives of over 500 Americans and about 60 Dakota.
September 28, 1862 Sibley appoints a five-member military commission to "try summarily" Dakota for "murder and other outrages" committed against Americans.  Sixteen trials take place the same day.  Ten Dakota are convicted and sentenced to be hanged, six are acquitted.  Over the next six weeks, 393 Dakota are tried.
October 14, 1862 At President Lincoln's cabinet meeting, the ongoing Dakota trials are discussed.  Lincoln and several cabinet members are disturbed by General Pope's report on the trials and planned executions, and move to prevent precipitous action.
October 17, 1862 General Pope tells Sibley that "the President directs that no executions be made without his sanction."
November 3, 1862 The last of 393 trials is conducted, with 42 trials taking place on the last day.  In all, 323 Dakota are convicted and 303 are sentenced to be hanged.  All but 8 of those acquitted remained imprisoned at Camp Release.
November 9, 1862 The 303 condemned Dakota are moved from the Lower Agency to Camp Lincoln, near Mankato.  While passing through New Ulm, the captives are attacked by an angry mob.  A few Dakota are killed and many injured.  (Meanwhile, the 1700 uncondemned are moved to Fort Snelling, near St. Paul.)
November 10, 1862 Pope forwards to the President names of those condemned.  Lincoln asks for "a full and complete record of their convictions" and "a careful statement" indicating "the more guilty and influential of the culprits."
November 15, 1862 Pope forwards records of the trials to President Lincoln, together with a letter urging Lincoln to authorize execution of all of the condemned and warning of mob violence if the executions did not go forward.
Late November, 1862 Rev. Riggs and Bishop Whipple urge clemency for Dakota involved in battles and executions only for those proven to have committed rape or killed women or children.
December 4, 1862 Several hundred civilians, armed with hatchets, clubs, and knives, attack the camp where the condemned Dakota are being held, but are surrounded and disarmed by soldiers.
December 6, 1862 President Lincoln issues an order allowing only 39 of the planned 300 executions to go forward.  The execution of one additional condemned man is suspended later after new evidence casts doubt upon his guilt.
December 24, 1862 The 38 condemned Dakota are allowed to meet with their families for the last time.
December 26, 1862 At 10 a.m., the condemned, singing and chanting Dakota songs,  are led to the scaffolds in Mankato.  Three drumbeats signal the moment of execution, the crowd cheers.  Bodies are buried in a single grave on the edge of town.
April, 1863 Congress enacts a law providing for the removal of Dakota bands from Minnesota.  Most of the Dakota community will be moved to South Dakota.  The convicted prisoners who were not executed are moved to Camp McClellan near Davenport, Iowa.
March 22, 1866 President Andrew Johnson orders release of the 177 surviving prisoners.
1863 to 1890 Sioux Wars continue, finally ending in the Battle at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1890.
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